Review | By Richard Allen / a closer listen
Mahler (in/a) Cage | Casetta di ComposizioneSergio Armaroli & Alessandro Camnasio
What did Gustav Mahler hear as he composed The Song of the Earth? This inviting question is answered by Sergio Armaroli and Alessandro Camnasio on Mahler (in/a) Cage | Casetta di Composizione, whose title refers not to putting the composer in a cage, but to John Cage, whose concepts inform the execution. In his last years, Mahler resided in Dobbiaco (Bozen), writing in the evocatively named Composition House. Armaroli and Camnasio begin recording outside the house and gradually work their way toward, and then in. A distant hum marks “The sound of the earth: at dawn,” punctuated by birds as they begin to awake and sing: the call to the composer to awake, fling open the sashes and begin to write. But perhaps Mahler had a different start in mind: to walk the meadows and drink in the soundscape. Would Mahler have brewed a cup of fine Italian coffee, or donned a cap and perhaps a pen? Would he have stopped to appreciate the sound of the day’s first cowbell, anticipating the arrival of more? Were the creative thoughts already beginning to unfold? []